He will step down in the summer after nine years in charge.

Petroc principal David Dodd will be retiring this summer.

He took on the post at the then North Devon College in 2005 and in 2008 oversaw the successful merger with East Devon College to form Petroc.

The college has seen a great deal of development during David’s reign, with the redevelopment of large parts of its campuses in Barnstaple and Tiverton and the expansion of curriculum areas to include more apprenticeships and vocational programmes.

In 2014 Petroc unveiled its multimillion pound Future Technologies Centre; a specialist facility to accommodate a wide range of technology-related subjects.

The college has also announced plans to build a Lifestyle and Tourism Centre and an Engineering Centre of Excellence, both due to open in the autumn.

Reflecting on his time at Petroc, David said: “The staff, and those who have left over the last 10 years, have made the college the success it is today and developed its forward thinking, inclusive and friendly approach.

“I have been immensely proud and grateful for all their incredible hard work, flexibility and adaptability to what have been good times as well as incredibly challenging times.

“I believe we have become, over the years, a more open, flexible and inclusive institution; reaching out not only to our traditional learners but also to many more people and businesses to whom the college would not have been the natural next step.”

David was previously been deputy at St Helens College in Merseyside. He brought with him a wealth of experience in education and management, starting his career as an Instructor Officer in the Royal Navy in 1981 and following this with posts of increasing responsibility in the further education sector.

No announcement has been made yet on who will succeed David Dodd as principal.